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For marketers tired of churning out an endless stream of one-off campaigns, manually sorting through contact lists, and waiting for performance reports to populate, marketing automation tools offer an alternative. Check out what exactly they can do.

Even though the rise of sophisticated digital and mobile marketing platforms have made it easier than ever to connect with, engage, and retain customers, many of the behind-the-scenes processes have been anything but easy for the marketing teams running them. That's where marketing automation technologies—or within the realm of mobile marketing, mobile marketing automation platforms—come into play.

For marketers tired of churning out an endless stream of one-off campaigns, manually sorting through contact lists, and waiting for performance reports to populate, marketing automation tools offer an alternative.

What Is Marketing Automation?

As the name suggests, marketing automation is about leveraging digital tools to automate—or take the manual process out of—common but often time-consuming marketing activities.

Depending on the type of marketing automation software, these systems can be used to streamline several different types of marketing tasks, including:

Key features of marketing automation and marketing orchestration technologies brands should look for when considering marketing orchestration platforms to invest in include support for:

  • Dynamic segmentation and targeting: Powered by real-time data, this solution enables brands to create segments by shared traits, with these cohorts updated automatically in real-time, such as "customers who reviewed a product within the last 24 hours," "app users who haven't logged any activity in 7 days or more," or "customer loyalty members with a balance of 30,000 points or more."
  • Live profiles: These pull together all the relevant information and activity details about your customers,such as their location data, language preferences, and more, from a variety of sources in one single source.
  • Personalization features: Enabling one-to-one messaging that's relevant and designed to address individuals wherever they are in their customer journey rather than one-to-many outreach, which can come across as out-of-touch and irrelevant.
  • Channel optimization: With this technology, brands can send messages to customers via the channels where they're most likely to engage.
  • Send-time optimization: With this feature, deliver campaigns at the moment customers are most likely to open, click, and take action can boost engagement by up to 25%.

Why Is Marketing Automation Important for Your Overall Marketing Strategy?

The right suite of marketing automation tools can make it faster and easier to engage with customers, freeing up employee time to focus less on small tasks and more on big picture thinking about marketing strategy.

That's important because not only are marketers overworked but now, more than ever, customers are demanding brand relevance. As a Harvard Business Review analysis of the topic found, customer needs vary based on time and context, and companies should be using the technology now available to act upon these changing needs, right in the moment.

Upgrade Your Marketing Automation With These 6 Personalization Strategies

Personalization is one effective way to meet customer needs in real-time. Brands that tailor messaging content, channel selection, send-time, and more based on individual interests see engagement rates improve. Our guide, The Power Behind the Message: The Nuts and Bolts of Effective Personalization, has everything you need to get started.

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl is a writer and digital strategist, who has led email, social media, and content marketing for several brands. She has helped launch six mobile apps and one niche social network and is always up for a good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime binge recommendation or travel tip